cricket and hockey teams from Aitchison College (Lahore) are in the City to play a friendly series against Daly College. The pakistan teams’ visit comes 20 years after teams from Indore DC visited Pakistan. DC Board of Governors vice-president Maharaja Narendra Singh Jhabua will inaugurate the series at DC grounds on Monday.
Interestingly, the fixture signaling the sure sign of melting ice between the two neighbors has been coined ‘goodwill gainers’.
The team from Pakistan voiced in unison that they found less of differences and more of commonalities between both the countries. Ranging from the people, tenor and tone, food, cultural habits, clothing and climate there were no noticeable differences. Moreover, the kind of response received in India was warm, spontaneous and touching.
The team led by faculty members Mazhar Pervez Khan and Abdul Razak visited Delhi, Golden Temple in Amritsar, Jallianallah Bagh.
They also spent a little time in Bhopal after alighting at the airport to their road sojourn onwards for Indore. The sights, smells and sound of India truly fascinated the team and the multicultural vividity of their giant neighbour has earned respect in their hearts.
Aitchison senior-level college cricket team captain Raeed Ahmed Khan, who in his physical appearance resembles a young Inzimam Ul Haque, said that both countries are divided and united over cricket.
Unable to pinpoint the reason for the game having a super status in the subcontinent, he said that the people leave all work and glue themselves before the TV screen and while tempers of players and viewers may rise over the course of the game it still is a game and no country will go to war over it.
Khan, who is an all-rounder, considers Shane Warne as his sporting icon. He said that the usual practice sessions were all that had been put in and no special preparation had been done keeping the match at DC in mind. The team will also play a match during the course of their current visit with YPS, Patiala.
Cricket team coach Mohammed Kamran Khan said that though the climate was similar, the heat was more piercing making running about in the sun a tedious job. In the practice session held at the DC grounds, they found the pitch a bit lacking in comparison to their own and wanting in moisture. Pointing out the fortes of Indian and Pakistani cricket teams, he said that, while their side had the upper hand in bowling and some good batsmen the Indian team had some exceptional batsmen and the fielding of both teams was so-so.
He and his boys did not get a chance to play a friendly series before the actual match that begins tomorrow, while the hockey, team might get a chance as their match will be held on October 17. Hockey team captain Hassan Rashid said that last year he had come to India on a college tour to Ajmer, Shimla and Delhi and got to acclimatise in Indian weather and temperament. He found the countryside and particularly agriculture undistinguishable while use of Urdu vocabulary was conspicuously found missing in the dialect.
Senior hockey player and college football team captain Muhammed Haider Hassan said that DC campus was more beautiful and better organised than any other he had visited in India and gave a tough comparison to his alma mater. The Indians are generally helpful and friendly people and their hospitality leaves little for the asking.
He said that the youth in Pakistan too have evolved their own thinking and base their knowledge in political affairs (differences) to news circulated in print and visual media and would reciprocate the warmth truly felt by the heart.
Coach Muhammed Mubeen said that his boys had got to prepare during a 25-day camp held recently and played against Bishop Cotton (Shimla), Mayo College (Ajmer) and New Modern School (Delhi) last year. He said that the game enjoyed a status of respect in both countries, while cricket grabbed more attention. His boys will get to play on clay fields while back home they played on astro-turf field.
Senior teachers from Daly College and those accompanying the team from Pakistan remembered with nostalgia when the DC cricket and hockey teams visited Aitchison during their centenary year in 1986. The deed is being reciprocated 20-years later with this visit. The board members under the auspices of the then president Maharaja Surendra Singh Alirajpur and Narendra Singh Jhabua had accompanied the DC team.
Then DC principal DS Bhatnagar had accompanied the team and reciprocating the same, Aitchison College principal Shameem S Khan arrived on Sunday to boost the morale of his players and cement the bond between two of the oldest princely schools founded by the British in the undivided India.